At last, some progress. Not without some minor mishaps; but progress nevertheless.
The day started as usual; raining. Still, we had to be at the Honda dealership in Blois at 09h00, so by 08h00 we were suitably dressed and on the bike, ready to go.

Unfortunately we only covered about 50 metres before the mishap. In order to get to a tarmac road, we have a farm track to negotiate. Although this is a public road (and presumably maintained by the public purse), it’s not much used; with the result that it’s covered with grass. Rain + soil + grass = very slippery surface.
Rain + soil + grass + motorcycle = motorcycle lying on its side on the grass. Now lifting a nearly 300kg motorcycle from the horizontal position to the vertical requires a special technique, which involves planting your bum in the middle of the seat and using your leg muscles to right the motorcycle. I’ve done this before successfully, but never on grass. Unfortunately grass does not provide a decent surface for the grip of motorcycle boots, so I was forced to use more back muscle than leg muscle. So as a result, I’m typing this sitting precariously upright on a hard chair, as sitting in any other position hurts.

Anyway, with the motorcycle the right way up again, we proceeded slipperily (that’s not a word but it should be) along the grassy track at less than walking pace until we finally reached the tarmac surface. Unfortunately the tyres didn’t seem to have much grip for the first few kilometres, so we proceeded at a very sedate rate. Once we got to the Honda dealer, we handed over all the paperwork which Honda France had sent us. They wanted all sorts of details; make and model of the spark plugs and ignition leads, type and size of tyres, exhaust part numbers, headlight part numbers, indicator part numbers, stop light part numbers….. the list went on and on – I kid you not.

Fortunately the chap behind the counter took pity on us. “Look,” he said. “If I write down all the part numbers like they’re asking, you simply won’t get a Certificate de Conformité at all. Because, for example, you’ve got Avon tyres fitted. They’re not the make specified by Honda, which is Bridgestone. You don’t have Honda exhausts; you have custom-made stainless steel ones. Which I can quite imagine will last a lot longer than the ones fitted by Honda, but are not the type that Honda specify. So, as we happen to have a standard ST1100 in the workshop, what I’ve done is taken the part numbers from that and written that on the list. However, you will need to have the headlight changed. Although the beam of yours is not deflected to the left but a straight-ahead type, the French requirements are that the beam is deflected to the right.”

Suitably grateful, we made another appointment for next Friday to have the work done. (Now a simple thing like changing a headlight I could of course do myself. “Oh no you can’t,” they exclaim. They need to stamp a different piece of paper stating that the work has been done in an approved dealership.)

The trip back home was much better; although it was still raining at times the tyres seemed to have cleaned themselves up and had much more grip, so the trip was obviously much more enjoyable.

Once we got back to the grassy track though, I made LSS get off and walk for the last 50 metres. The added weight at the rear would probably have provided more grip, but I thought I’d try negotiating the tricky section without a passenger. This was fortunately carried out without any further incident.

After a peaceful lunch, we drove off to Aubigny to visit Weldom. Again.

This time, the manager was in, and greeted our request for a discount with the customary intake of breath through pursed lips. However, after some inconsequential chatting about how bad things were in France and the state of the world in general, he mellowed a bit, and the result was that not only were we able to actually pay for our order, we got a discount which was the equivalent of having free delivery, and everything has been promised for Monday 14th.

We may finally be able to get some work done!

(P.S. No wildlife diary today, simply because we weren’t here most of the time!)

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